Speculation over which of the 13 shortlisted ingredients would take home silverware in this year's Food Ingredients Excellence Awards ended last night as National Starch Food Innovation was awarded the competition's main prize.
The honour was presented at a glittering awards ceremony at Food Ingredients (Fi) Europe, which opened yesterday in Frankfurt, Germany. Held biennially in a chosen European city, Fi Europe is the premiere meeting place for the global ingredients industry. In front of an audience of the food ingredients' industry players and decision makers, former MTV presenter Kristiane Backer presented awards for best innovation in Dairy, Savoury/Meat, Confectionary, Bakery, and Snacks/On the Go.
National Starch Food Innovation received the coveted Fi Excellence Innovation of the Year Award for its ingredient N-Dulge FR – a co-texturiser which enables the amount of butter, margarine or shortening used in cake recipes to be reduced by 75%. Explaining the panel's decision, Henry Dixon, Chair of Judges, said: "The judges quickly identified two front runners for this award. In our final analysis we looked for an ingredient that not only benefitted the manufacturer and retailer but that also held out the promise of helping consumers overcome a real and significant challenge."
Allison Knight, technical service manager, Northern Europe with National Starch Food Innovation said, "We are thrilled. N-Dulge FR is a product that we've really believed in and to gain this recognition from the industry is truly amazing."
In addition to the overall 'Innovation of the Year' accolade, National Starch fended off competition from J Rettenmaier & Sohne to win Bakery Innovation of the Year.
Chr Hansen also celebrated a double coup, winning Savoury/Meat Innovation of the Year for Bactoferm Rubis, and Dairy Innovation of the Year for CHY-MAX M. Bactoferm Rubis solves the problem of oxidisation in packaged meats naturally thanks to its ability to consume oxygen, while CHY-MAX M delivers reduced costs-in-use, better process control, improved flavour and increased shelf life in dairy applications.
Scooping Confectionery Innovation of the Year was Fuji Oil Europe's Redusat, which contains half the amount of saturates as normal saturated fats, but maintains the same structure.
Lastly, the Snacks/On-The-Go category was won by Lyckeby Culinar AB, with Culinax, the flavouring system for 'difficult to flavour' products.
Event director Greg Cherry added that this year's judging committee had faced the toughest selection process to date, after being inundated by a record number of entries.
In fact, the success of the awards has prompted the organisers to introduce two new categories for 2010. "In the context of the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity, next year we will be launching the Ethical BioTrade award for Biodiversity, a joint venture with the Union for Ethical BioTrade," said Cherry. "We will also be launching the search for the young scientist of the year, together with the lifetime achievement award run in conjunction with IUFoST (the international Union of Food Science and Technology) and we hope that many of you will take part in some or all of these in the coming year."
The next Fi Europe Excellence Awards will be presented at Fi Europe 2011, which will run from November 19 – December 1, 2011 in Paris, France.